When someone you love is engaging in self-destructive, hurtful or unacceptable behavior, a confrontation may be necessary to communicate your feelings about the behavior and defuse it before it becomes worse. Unfortunately, confrontation can often set your friends, family members and even coworkers on the defensive, and causes a disagreement and the loss of the point you hoped to communicate. Staging a well-thought-out, calm and even positive confrontation can allow you to speak your peace without causing serious backlash.
An effective technique for peaceful confrontation is using "I" phrases to talk about the situation. This helps you avoid placing blame on the offending person and making them go immediately on the defensive. Instead of saying, "You didn't do what I told you to do, and you made me upset," try, "I feel frustrated when my directions aren't well received." Using statements about yourself helps you to begin the confrontation by taking some of the responsibility so you're better able to communicate the problem.
It's important to remember that when you confront a person, you shouldn't confront and accuse him of bad character, only bad behavior, notes the University of Wisnconsin-Superior 1. Behavior can be easily changed, and bringing up poor performance or a lack of attention is much better received than calling a person's entire character into question. Catching someone in a lie and confronting him about it is less offensive than outright calling him a liar.
A clever person will try to throw you off of the path of confrontation when you're working at talking to her. Repeating your request multiple times may help you stay on track and not be swayed by other arguments the other person is presenting. Choose your basic message carefully, and repeat it several times throughout the confrontation, so you're able to clearly convey your message and you don't forget what the original confrontation was about.
Confrontation usually puts someone on the "hot seat," making him defend himself and feel hurt, angry and attacked. Taking time to agree with the person you're confronting can help relax him and take him off of the defensive for more productive communication. Saying things like, "I understand why you would be upset," or, "You have a right to be angry," gives validation to the other person, according to PeaceHealth.org.
Confrontation shouldn't only be about pointing out bad behavior in order to stop it. It also should involve reasoning and sound solutions that help your friend, family member or coworker reform the behavior that is causing the confrontation. Think about possible solutions before you approach the offending party so you can offer suggestions instead of just critical comments about performance or behavior.
- nyul/iStock/Getty Images